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Mindful : April 2017
A BOX OF SIMPLE ADVICE A Mini Forgiveness Practice Try this shor t practice once a day and feel your forgiveness muscles growing. Think of someone who has caused you pain (to star t, maybe not the person who has hurt you most) and you’re holding a grudge against. Visualize the time you were hur t by this person and feel the pain you still carry. Hold tightly to your unwillingness to forgive. Now, observe what emotion is present. Is it anger, resent- ment, sadness? Use your body as a barometer and notice physically what you feel. Are you tense anywhere, or do you feel heavy? Nex t, bring awareness to your thoughts; are they hateful, spiteful, or something else? Really feel this burden associated with the hur t that lives inside you, and ask yourself: “ Who is suffering? Have I carried this burden long enough? Am I willing to forgive?” If the answer is no, that’s OK. Some wounds need more time than others to heal. If you are ready to let it go now, silently repeat: “Breathing in, I acknowledge the pain. Breathing out, I am forgiving and releasing this burden from my heart and mind.” Continue this process for as long as it feels suppor tive to you. Stefanie and Elisha Goldstein are clinical psychologists at the Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles, specializing in mindfulness, with a focus on families and children. Elisha is the author of Uncovering Happiness. mindfulness and forgive- ness. In other words, it can be said that the more you practice mindfulness, the more you strengthen your capacity for forgiveness. 11 Find meaning and strength through your pain As you practice working with the pain that’s there, you grow key strengths of self-compassion, courage, and empathy that inevitably make you stronger in every way. As psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Vik- tor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, even in the most horrific and painful circumstances, we have the freedom to create meaning in life, which is a powerful healing agent. ● April 2017 mindful 31 how to live a mindful life